Republican headquarters declared ‘victory central’

The fortunes of the Republican Party on a national and state level are not yet known, but Greenwich’s dedicated members of the Grand Old Party already have victory in their eyes for Nov. 6.

So when Greenwich Republican Town Committee (RTC) Chairman Jim Campbell asked the passionate crowd of more than a dozen at the party headquarters’ official opening, “How does it feel to be a Greenwich Republican?” the answer seemed to be, Pretty darn good.

Due to a large advantage in the number of registered voters in town, Republicans are favored in all four of the state legislature races, and Greenwich is expected to give solid bases of support for senatorial candidate Linda McMahon and congressional candidate Steve Obsitnik.

So there was a confident ebullience among local Republicans when they gathered to launch the headquarters with a small party last Thursday. While the party’s headquarters, which also doubles as the local center for the McMahon campaign, has been operational for weeks, this was the official launch, and it doubled as a debate-watching party as the crowd checked out first Ms. McMahon’s debate against Democrat U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy and then the national debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican nominee U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.

But before the debates began, Greenwich’s local candidates spoke, and Mr. Campbell said they have a lot of reasons to feel good about their chances with a slate led by incumbents state Sen. L. Scott Frantz (R-36th District) and state Reps. Livvy Floren (R-149th District) and Fred Camillo (R-151st District), who are all running for new terms. He called them “the finest delegation in any town” to Hartford.

Running for her seventh term, Ms. Floren said that the new headquarters “looks like victory central to me” toward turning blue state Connecticut red.

“Throughout all the hoopla and all the fun and all the debates, we’ve got to keep our focus,” Ms. Floren said. “Our job is to get the vote out on Nov. 6. This is our time. We can send a red alert and we can shake the blues.”

A noted Yankee fan as well as a longtime umpire in youth baseball leagues in town, Mr. Camillo embraced a sports metaphor for the upcoming election.

“The regular season is over and it’s playoff time,” Mr. Camillo said. “The only difference is we’re not shooting for the World Series trophy. We’re shooting to end one-party rule in Connecticut. I have Democratic colleagues up in Hartford who are great people and I truly love, but one-party rule has failed Connecticut.”

Mr. Frantz (R-36th District) also spoke, but his comments ended up attracting more attention than he might have originally intended (see story on page 1). He also touched on recent rankings that have left Connecticut at No. 50 in terms of taxes and fiscal management and as a least desirable place to retire.

“We can be No. 1 if you re-elect this delegation and get Steve Walko up there with us,” Mr. Frantz said. “If you do that and we make a few changes down the road, we have a chance of making Connecticut No. 1 and at least in the top five in the nation in the next half a decade.”

Stephen Walko, running in the 150th District open seat, was unable to attend the opening, but longtime friend and campaign chairman Ed Dadakis spoke about how “wonderful it’s been to see Steve develop as a candidate” by going door to door in Greenwich and talking about his goals for the state and his plans to close the state deficit without raising taxes again.

Mr. Campbell and the Republicans also had a little extra strut in their step after the initial debate two weeks ago between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Widely viewed as a clear and decisive win for Mr. Romney, the initial debate was credited with helping close the gap and turn an Obama lead into a too-close-to-call race, with some national polls even showing Mr. Romney edging into the lead.

“We got to see Mitt Romney’s message, and the American people got to see his message unfiltered and unbiased,” Mr. Campbell said. “He was able to speak straight to the American people and the response is in the polls. It’s been a fantastic response for Romney, Ryan and the Republican message.”

While Ms. McMahon, a Greenwich resident, and Mr. Obsitnik were unable to attend the opening, both got a hand from their supporters there.

“They are experienced businesspeople and they have a plan,” Mr. Campbell said. “They have a plan for the state and a plan for the country. They know how to create jobs. They know how to get this economy going again. And they’re running against two guys, Murphy and Himes, who don’t have a clue. They don’t know how to get the economy going and don’t know anything about creating jobs. They’ve shown that in their years in Congress.”


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